With everyone in the tech world fixated on Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s devices business, one question people are demanding the answer to is what Microsoft’s new integration will mean for its device partners. The official line at Microsoft is that it’s still eager to work with other manufacturers making Windows Phone devices. "Our OS group mission is to enable the innovations of our hardware partners to shine through on the Windows platform," said Terry Myerson, the company’s vice president of operating systems. But while Microsoft still plans to license its mobile software to other companies building Windows Phone devices, is anyone even interested?

Microsoft is now moving into direct competition with its partners

As Steve Ballmer states in an interview with New York Times journalist Nick Wingfield, Nokia already makes up about 80 percent of Windows Phone sales globally. And while Samsung and HTC are still dutifully trickling out devices running the mobile OS, Microsoft's decision to tie itself even more tightly to Nokia is guaranteed to rouse concerns about the future's prospects among its manufacturing partners. As highly as the company might value its open approach to software licensing, Microsoft is now moving into direct competition with its partners, exactly like it has with its Surface line of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets.

"Driving volumes will activate the software and the hardware ecosystem."

Departing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tells The Verge that the big driver behind bringing Nokia's hardware production in-house is its potential to increase sales and marketshare. "Driving volumes will activate the software and the hardware ecosystem," he says. "We do think that making the brand and the product line simpler and easier to acquire and being able to invest with greater agility should do a lot to help us continue to improve our marketshare and position, which certainly will help apps."

So far, it looks like Microsoft's hardware partners are still trying to figure out how the acquisition affects them. A representative from HTC tells The Verge that the company is "assessing the situation and we have no comment at this time."